Syria & Iraq War Report – October 20, 2016: Russian TOS-1A Flamethrower Systems in Battle for Mosul
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Military campaign by the Iraqi army, popular forces as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces to liberate the city of Mosul from ISIL terrorists in Iraq continued on Thursday, resulting in more advances by pro-government forces and the liberation of at least 14 more villages in the vicinity of the last stronghold of ISIL in Iraq.
Iraqi Forces Liberate 14 Villages in Mosul
The Iraqi security and popular forces retook 14 villages in the Northern and Southern parts of Mosul from the ISIL control on Thursday, sources said.
Iraqi sources said that the army and its allies seized back control of al-Khalediyeh, al-Salehiyeh and al-Khabat villages near al-Qayyara, Deiri, Samaqiyeh, Soqra, Kobra and Nahla villages near Sahl Neineva region, Sidaveh, al-Makouk, al-Manavir and Khanisat villages in Southern Mosul and Barima and al-Nouran villages in Northern Mosul.
They added that operations will continue until freedom of all regions in Mosul from the ISIL hand.
In the Meantime, reports said that the Iraqi army and volunteer forces have surrounded the center of al-Hamdaniyeh town in the Southeastern parts of Mosul.
Iraqi Forces to Block ISIL’s Pathway to Escape toward Syria
Local sources said the Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces are preparing to launch a massive assault toward West of Mosul, following a successful 48 hours that included the liberation of several villages.
With the popular forces attacking the Western flank of Mosul, the sources said, ISIL terrorists will find themselves surrounded from three different sides, leaving only the Northern side of the city open for retreat.
The PMF’s attack on Mosul’s Western flank will close-off the ISIL’s pathway to the Syrian border, contrasting reports that the Iraqi Armed Forces are allowing the terrorist group to freely retreat to Syria.
In addition to the ground assault, the Iraqi Air Force has begun bombing the ISIL positions along the Iraqi-Syrian border in order to obstruct the flow of terrorists between both countries.
Iraq Deploys Elite Forces for Mosul Offensive
Iraqi special forces were deployed to join the Mosul battle on Thursday with a pre-dawn advance on a nearby town held by the ISIL terror group, a key part of a multi-pronged assault on Western fronts to the besieged city.
The deployment of the elite troops, also known as counterterrorism forces, marked a significant intensification of the fight for Iraq’s second-largest city.
Major General Ma’an al-Sa’adi said the elite Counterterrorism Forces advanced on the town of Bartella with the support of US-led coalition airstrikes and heavy artillery on the fourth day of a massive operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city.
ISIL Expected to Use Chemical Weapons During Battle for Mosul
Iraqi officials said they expect the ISIL terror group to employ crude chemical weapons in the battle for Mosul.
“ISIL has brought several shipments of chemical weapons, particularly chlorine and mustard agents, to Mosul,” the head of the Nineveh Media Centre, Raafat al-Zarari said.
The introduction of mustard gas into Mosul’s sprawling urban districts would cause burning, blindness, and difficulty breathing. While ISILL militants could retreat into their labyrinthine tunnel network, there would be no escape for the besieged civilians.
Mysterious Fire Devours ISIL Headquarters in Iraq’s Mosul
Iraqi media reported that mysterious fire devoured the empty headquarters of the ISIL terror group in the city of Mosul during the last 24 hours.
The fire started 24 hours ago inside the empty headquarters of the ISIL in the city of Mosul.
The buildings were evacuated by the ISIL far before the launch of the battle to liberate Mosul and the perpetrators of the fire are still unknown.
At Least 100 ISIL Commanders Escape from Mosul toward Syria
At least 100 commanders of ISIL terrorist group left the Iraqi city of Mosul and headed for Syria amid the Iraqi forces’ offensive, media reported.
The group of ISIL commanders moved to the Syrian border, as the Iraqi air forces continue to monitor the area to the West of Mosul.
The start of the military operation to retake Mosul from ISIL, which seized it in June 2014, was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi on Monday.
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The Syrian troops continued their advance in different parts of Aleppo with more militants surrendering to the government authorities as the US airstrikes in the province killed and wounded 10 people.
A large number of buses queued up in the Aleppo Municipality stadium on Wednesday to evacuate terrorists from the city’s Eastern districts, local sources said.
There were reports that the civil society delegations and reconciliation committees are trying to evacuate groups of terrorists from Eastern Aleppo.
Earlier on Wednesday, Syrian security officials said that some 900 terrorists are preparing to be evacuated from the Eastern districts of Aleppo on Thursday.
The security officials said that 30 buses were most likely to evacuate on Thursday around 900 terrorists, who have turned down the offer to join the peace agreement with the government but agreed to leave Aleppo.
“The militants, who have applied to leave Aleppo, will not face any problem by the security forces,” Abdul Hamid Seirafi, a Syrian judiciary official, told FNA.
Meantime, a source based in the Northern Syrian city said that three people were killed and 27 others injured, including three children, as militants shelled Western Aleppo.
According to the source the attack on Aleppo’s Jamiliya neighborhood took place during a 48-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ by Russian and Syrian forces and all those killed in were adult males, RT reported.
RT’s correspondent in Aleppo, Murad Gazdiev said the militants, including Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists, who control the Eastern part of Aleppo, have intensified the shelling attacks on areas controlled by government forces in recent days.
Also on Wednesday, military sources said that the Syrian army troops and popular forces drove Jeish al-Fatah terrorists out of over ninety percent of Housing Project 1070 in the Southwestern parts of Aleppo city, adding that the government troops are encircling the remaining pockets of the militants in the few building blocks still under their control.
“The present conditions show that Housing Project 1070 will be completely captured soon. There has remained only a few building blocks under Jeish al-Fatah’s control,” the sources said.
“Now the terrorists are under siege, trapped in the circle of government soldiers. They have no way out,” they added.
In another development in Aleppo, the Hmeimim-based Russian center coordinating ceasefire regime in Syria announced that two jets of the US-led coalition launched raids on Hassadjek village in Afrin area, North of Syria, leaving civilian casualties.
According to information handed over to the Russian Center by the local council of the Syrian city of Afrin, the village of Hassadjek suffered an air attack in which six people died and four more were injured, the center said in a statement published by the Russian Defense Ministry website.
It was reported that two residential buildings were destroyed as a result of the attack by US-led coalition warplanes.
The statement stressed that neither Russian nor Syrian air forces were carrying out any missions in the area.
The Syrian Air Force launched fresh rounds of combat flights over Jeish al-Fatah’s strongholds in Northern Hama, killing at least fifty terrorists including six field commanders, army sources said Wednesday.
“Jeish al-Fatah commanders Akram al-Hasyan, Mar’ei al-Din Rahal and Ahmad Jamil al-Saleh alongside 18 other terrorists were killed in the Syrian fighter jets’ bombardments in Souran.
“Ahmad Abdul Razaq al-Hawash, Khalid al-Hasyan and Khalid al-Amouri were also killed alongside 27 of their comrades in the Syrian warplanes’ attacks on Jeish al-Fatah’centers in Taybat al-Imam, al-Lahaya, al-Boyzeh, Ma’arkbeh, al-Latamina, Morek, al-Masaseneh, North of al-Naseriyeh hill and East of Tal Bazam,” the sources added.
“Three tanks in Taybat al-Imam, two armored vehicles in Morek and three machinegun-equipped vehicles in Souran were damage in the air raids,” they went on to say.
“Also several armored vehicles of the terrorists were targeted and damaged in the air raids in Taybat al-Imam, Morek, Souran and al-Latamina,” the sources said.
Also on Wednesday, the Syrian army soldiers continued to beat back the terrorist groups from their positions in Northern Hama, capturing a main base in the Northern side of the newly-liberated town of Ma’ardes.
Syrian military forces, in a fresh round of operations to liberate the towns of Souran and Taybat al-Imam, pushed the terrorists back from a key base along Ma’ardes road to Kawkab.
A large number of Jeish al-Ezza and Abna al-Sham’s militants were killed or wounded in the attacks.
Military analysts believe that recapture of this base will pave the way for the easier liberation of Taybat al-Imam and Souran.
Syrian fighter jets pounded the strongholds of Jeish al-Fatah and Fatah al-Sham Front in the provinces of Lattakia and Idlib, inflicting major losses and heavy casualties on the militants.
Syrian fighter jets targeted the positions of Fatah al-Sham and al-Turkistani terrorists near the villages of Zohra Katab Sandou and Tardin in Northeastern Lattakia, leaving several militants dead and destroying their bases and machinegun-equipped vehicles.
The Syrian warplanes also bombed Jeish al-Fatah’s defense lines in the two villages of Hallouz and Um al-Qar in Jisr al-Shughour in Southwestern Idlib, destroying the militants’ arms depot, and bases.
A number of militants were also killed or wounded in the air raids.
Syrian Army soldiers and popular forces launched fresh large-scale offensives to take back the key town of Talbiseh in Northern Homs, local sources said Wednesday.
“Syrian government forces struck at the first defense line of the terrorists in Ayoun al-Hossein. The Syrian Air Force and artillery units for their part targeted terrorists’ centers in Ayoun al-Hossein,” the sources said.
“Terrorists have thus far suffered tens of casualties in the attacks,” they added.
“The Syrian soldiers have also stormed the terrorists’ gatherings in Ein Issa al-Janoubiyeh and Joureh al-Hasyan in Northern Homs, destroying several machinegun-equipped vehicles,” the source added.
In another development on Wednesday, the Syrian and Russian fighter jets pounded the positions of Ahrar al-Sham and Fatah al-Sham in Northern Homs, claiming the lives of scores of militants.
A large number of Fatah al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham were killed or wounded and their military equipment were destroyed in the joint air raid of the Syrian and Russian aircraft in Talbiseh, al-Qajar and al-Rastan.
The Syrian warplanes also bombed ISIL’s gathering heavily near al-Sha’er oilfield.
Two missile launch-pads and two military vehicles of Fatah al-Sham were also targeted by the Syrian army soldiers in the village of al-Mokaramiyeh in al-Sa’an al-Aswad region.
Several Takfiri terrorists were killed in the Syrian army attacks in the villages of al-Qajar and al-Ghantou in Northern Homs.
One of the most important command-and-control centers of Fatah al-Sham Front was badly targeted and destroyed in the Syrian Army attacks in the Southern districts of Dara’a city.
Syrian Army troops stormed Fatah al-Sham’s command center in Dara’a al-Balad, destroying the base completely and killing or wounding the entire militants inside the center.
Terrorists’ positions in the Western side of the refugee camp came under heavy attacks of the Syrian army men, leaving several terrorists dead and destroying their weapons.
The Syrian army men also hit terrorist centers hard in al-Yadoudeh in Western Dara’a, killing and wounding several fighters.
Meantime the senior commander of a terrorist group affiliated to Jeish al-Yarmouk and the Free Syrian Army, Mohamad Mahmoud Rahal al-Dahouk, was killed in clashes with the Syrian Army in Ibtta in Northern Dara’a.
Over 1,000 militants in Mo’adhamiyeh in Southwestern Damascus officially ended fight against the Syrian government on Wednesday.
“Introductory steps have been taken for Over 1,000 militants to surrender to the government forces or evacuate the town of Mo’adhamiyeh today,” the sources said.
“While, government authorities in Mo’adhamiyeh said they are ready to go on with implementation of their agreement with the militants, those militants who do not want to join the peace agreement will be relocated to militant-held parts of Idlib,” they added.
“650-750 militants have registered their names to leave Mo’adhamiyeh and move to Idlib. At least 400 militants have laid down arms and have settled their files to remain in Mo’adhamiyeh,” the sources went on to say.